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Armenia: Church Leaders Accuse Government of Slander Tactics

Armenian Apostolic Church officials in Armenia say the government is making false accusations against the church to discredit it.

Relations between the government and the church have soured of late with the government calling on church leaders to stay clear of domestic politics.

Tavush Primate, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, has spearhead a movement opposed to a border deal with Azerbaijan and has called on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign.

The church describes Galstanyan’s movement as a “public revolt against unilateral territorial concessions” in Tavush.

A conclave of bishops and primates today, chaired by Catholicos Karekin II, issued a statement deriding the government for targeting the church with pressure tactics and disinformation.

Government officials and politicians aligned with Pashinyan claim the church isn’t paying its fair share of taxes, a claim the church denies.

“It is even more surprising that naked accusations are made regarding the non-payment of taxes by the church, when the official statistics simply document the fulfillment of the tax obligations established by the law of the Republic of Armenia. It is especially reprehensible when the head of the government accuses the Armenian Church of being an ‘agent of influence’ both in the past and today with baseless accusations,” yesterday’s statement reads.

Church leaders call on the government to realize their responsibility at this critical juncture in Armenia’s history and reflect on the church’s historic role in maintaining national unity.


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